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Moon can help explore other planets: report

LONDON (PTI): The discovery of hydrogen and oxygen molecules, the components of water, on Moon by India's lunar mission Chandrayaan-1 can help build a rocket refuelling station up there and thereby expedite the exploration of other planets such as Mars, a media report said Tuesday.

At present, a space ship taking off from the Earth expends so much fuel that there is little to spare for inter-planetary exploration.

But a report in 'Daily Mail' quoting a planetary scientist says that a 'service station' on the moon can allow the rocket to re-fuel and help expedite the exploration of planets like Mars, where water has also been detected within the last few weeks.

"Space ships use up to 85 per cent of their fuel getting to the moon -- but this (water) will allow the moon to be a gas station in the sky," said Professor Larry Taylor, a planetary scientist at the University of Tennessee.

"This means missions will be able to load up on hydrogen and oxygen and the moon can act as a stepping stone to other planets such as Mars."

The report added that researchers in US are now working out ways of extracting water from the moon, like using sifting tools to extract metal oxide particles, which can further be heated to produce oxygen and then be combined with equally- plentiful hydrogen particles to make water.

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